Feb. 12: It seems there is at least something to the Lecavalier-Canadiens rumors. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan, Hughes confirms that he does hope to bring in his former client as a member of the hockey operations staff. However, he dispels the rumors that Lecavalier would be in line for an Assistant GM job:
I’ve had conversations with him. To me, trying to identify from Vinnie what would you like to do? He’s installed in Tampa for the time being. He’s got a young family, he’s not going to pack up and move. It’s not fair for his family to do that at this point. So the question is how can we involve him in a way that interests him and benefits us? And if we can do that we’re going to do it. It’s not going to be assistant GM, despite all the rumors, but if we can find a way to do it — and I have ideas about it — then we’d absolutely like to do it. Everything that we do has to in part be about our culture and the kind of people that we bring in, what they stand for. And I don’t think that’s just in the locker room. That has to be the whole organization, from the top down.
Feb. 9, 8:50pm: It’s just like his playing days all over again. Despite a seemingly reliable report that Lecavalier would be joining the Canadiens, the man himself has denied the rumors. Lecavalier tells Simon Lorange of La Presse that the report of him accepting the Montreal Assistant GM job is erroneous and he is happy in Florida. While this could be temporary posturing by the former star player, it doesn’t appear that this is the case. Will the Lecavalier to Montreal rumors ever end?
Feb. 9, 7:30pm: The Montreal Canadiens are about as far away from the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning as a team can be. In their efforts to turn around a historically bad season and work their way back into relevance, it seems the club has decided to reunite the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Bolts squad. After naming Martin St. Louis as interim head coach earlier today, the Habs are now expected to name his former teammate, Vincent Lecavalier, as Assistant General Manager, according to Montreal reporter Marc-Olivier Beaudoin.
In reality, it was almost certainly Lecavalier’s relationship to new Canadiens GM Kent Hughes that led to this hire rather than St. Louis. Hughes was Lecavalier’s agent for much of his decorated career. More recently, it was actually Lecavalier who Hughes credits for convincing him to leave agency behind and take the Montreal GM gig. Lecavalier’s ties to the city also undoubtedly assisted in this decision. A Quebec native, Lecavalier never played for the Canadiens, but was a rumored target throughout his career. While his playing days are now over, the wish of many Habs fans has finally been granted.
The first overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, the 41-year-old Lecavalier had a long, successful playing career before retiring in 2016. Best remembered as the long-time captain of the Lightning, Lecavalier also played for the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings at the end of his 1,212-game NHL career. Lecavalier finished just shy of 1,000 career points but in his prime the four-time All-Star was a perennial point-per-game scorer, including an unforgettable 52-goal, 108-point Rocket Richard-winning campaign in 2006-07. A power forward with elite possession ability, Lecavalier brings plenty of hockey IQ to his new role and will be an asset to the Canadiens, especially given his history with both the new GM and new head coach.